Wisconsin's Tommy Thompson (R)
Rachel noted on the show last night the many Republican U.S. Senate candidates distancing themselves from Mitt Romney this week. The latest is arguably the ugliest squabble of them all.
In Wisconsin, former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) was seen as the favorite in this year's U.S. Senate race, but polls show him falling behind Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D). Asked about his troubles, the Republican blamed his party's presidential nominee.
Thompson is blaming the slip, in part, on the rocky campaign of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
"The presidential thing is bound to have an impact on every election," Thompson told Madison television station WKOW on Wednesday. "You know, whether you're a Democrat or Republican. If you're a standard-bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it's going to reflect on the down ballot."
In other words, as far as Thompson is concerned, Romney is struggling so badly in this key battleground state, he's even dragging other GOP candidates down with him.
The Romney campaign responded by sending John Sununu out to bash Thompson, blaming the Senate candidate for his own troubles.
Josh Marshall noted, "Most people in the country aren't going to see this little back and forth. But if you're someone running the Romney operation and you can manage to step back and get a few moments of perspective you've got to think to yourself, "WTF? This isn't helping. What are we doing here?"
It's not just Thompson. Peggy Noonan published a deeply critical piece on the Romney campaign this week, and followed up today, writing, "This week I called it incompetent, but only because I was being polite. I really meant 'rolling calamity.'" Team Romney then dispatched Sununu to slam Noonan this morning on MSNBC.
The election is in 46 days. This kind of internecine warfare isn't a good sign.